Disclosure: I received an Advance Reader’s Copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review.
Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver
From the back cover:
Locked in a tiny attic bedroom by her cruel stepmother, Liesl’s only friends are the shadows and the mice — until one evening, quite unexpectedly, a ghost named Po appears. The two instantly become friends, and it is because of Po that Liesl escapes from the attic and embarks on an extraordinary journey filled with fateful coincidences, narrow escapes, and the most powerful magic in the world.
My reading relationship with Lauren Oliver is hard to pin down. I enjoyed Before I Fall, but was somewhat disappointed with Delirium. (Both books for teens.) So I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book.
What I liked about the book: Oliver does a very good job painting with words in this book. Liesl, Po and Will live in a world that is dark and gray, devoid of sunlight for many years. Many of the adults are also dark and gray. They live in a dreary world, which might make for a depressing read, but Oliver manages to inject a sliver of hope into the story that is finally realized at the end. Speaking of the end – I like the way this book ends. Goodness truly wins out and the bad guys truly get what they deserve. It’s not a sappy syrupy ending, but goodness and innocence do triumph. It is a little hard to pinpoint the time period in which this story takes place, but that allows it to be a timeless story. The sense of friendship between Liesl and Po is also very endearing. I liked the illustrations. Because my copy is an Advance Reader’s Copy I’m not sure if the illustrations will stay the same in the finished copy. I hope so. They are quite good.
What I didn’t like about the book: It is is somewhat of a dreary read for much of the story. For me this made it a rather slow read. Like another reviewer I had thought of putting it aside, but just as I was struggling with whether to continue reading or not the story did pick up. I’m glad I finished the book.
Recommended for 4th grade and up.